Engage Students in CTE on a Budget

keep it simple

Do you have the back to school budget blues? Not getting the equipment and tools you wanted for your classroom? While having all the latest gadgets and a limitless budget is ideal, you might be amazed at what you can do with very little. So how can you engage students in CTE on a budget?

Shark Teeth

Case in point…We’re visiting my folks in Florida this week. Today we went to Venice Beach. Venice Beach is known for one thing…sharks’ teeth! We figured Mark and Ava could scuba dive while the rest of us enjoyed the beach. Before we left my mom printed out all sorts of pictures of shark teeth so that we would know what to look for. When we arrived, we were a little disheartened to see that there were some serious shark teeth hunters already there. They had all sorts of fancy contraptions and gadgets for scooping and sifting sand to help find teeth.

We had nothing.

I was hoping that Titus wouldn’t notice that we didn’t have anything to use to find teeth. So, off Ava and Mark went into the deep while Titus played in the surf. He grabbed just a simple pair of swimming goggles and went picking through the surf and sand. Within about 20 minutes we hear…

“I got one! I found a shark tooth!!!”

We could not believe it. Sure enough, Titus found the most amazing shark tooth…without any fancy tools or sifters. Just his goggles and his hands.

Engage students in CTE on a budget: K.I.S.S.

My point? There are a lot of expensive gadgets and tools out there that you can use in your classroom. Not everyone will have the budget for it. And unfortunately, CTE teachers and classrooms sometimes feel that budget crunch more than others. But even with a tight budget, you can utilize some really great stuff in your classroom. Online learning tools, for one, can be very affordable, particularly if your school has adopted BYOT.

Keep it simple, people! Engaging students doesn’t have to mean pyrotechnics and reality stars–neither of which I would want anywhere near my kids. Keeping students engaged often just means changing things up a little bit. It doesn’t have to be life-altering. Just a little switch up here and there to add variety and make things a little more interesting. Student reporting, YouTube, group collaborations, online learning, and guest speakers (dialed way down from reality-star status), are just the tip of the iceberg. And these are all options that are budget-friendly!

What little tweaks here and there can you make to your lesson plans to engage students in CTE on a budget? Try one tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be a little different. K.I.S.S.

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